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The Lions improve to 5-0 in Three Rivers League matches with their 61-11 victory

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - West Linn's Logan Owens (left) battles Tigard's Chase Dennis during Owens' 3-2 decision at 132 pounds in the Lions' 61-11 victory at Tigard High School on Thursday, Jan. 30.The West Linn High School wrestling team took another step toward a possible Three Rivers League dual match championship on Thursday, Jan. 30.

And the Lions' latest step was definitely an impressive one.

West Linn, showing depth and strength throughout its lineup, powered to a 61-11 win over Tigard in a Three Rivers League dual match at Tigard High School.

"I think we did very well. We obviously won by a lot, so that was impressive," said West Linn freshman Logan Owens, who won the 132-pound match by decision. "We had some really good takedowns. I think we took advantage of some bad positions, and we had some good set-ups and a lot of things that we've been working on a lot in practice, so that impressed me a lot."

"We did really great. It was a tough, tough league dual and we came out on top," said West Linn sophomore Eric Mee, who won by fall at 220. "We were aggressive, and that is a big emphasis in practice. We try to win on the mat."

With the loss, Tigard moved to 2-3 in league matches, while West Linn improved to 5-0 in TRL action, putting the Lions just one victory away from clinching sole possession of the league dual match title.

"I think that's pretty important to us, because our coach (Doug Samarron) wants it so bad," Owens said. "He hasn't won a league championship since 2007, so it's a really big deal. It's motivation for me, because I want to make my coaches proud and my teammates proud. So it would be a big deal for us to win it now."

"That's been our goal since the start of the season," Mee said of the TRL championship. "We knew we could do it. We just had to put in the work, execute on the mat and get it done."

Sophomore Andrew Shelofsky got the Lions off to a fast start in the dual at Tigard, scoring a 9-4 decision over Tigard sophomore Atticus Waddell at 106 pounds, giving West Linn a quick 3-0 lead.

The Tigers answered back, with senior Cameron O'Connor getting a technical fall victory over Aaron McCoy at 113, giving Tigard a 5-3 lead.

But that would be the last Tiger victory for a long time, as West Linn won the next 11 matches in a row.

Junior Ricky Bell started the Lions' winning streak by pinning Tigard freshman Cade McCallister in 1 minute and 18 seconds in the 120-pound bout. West Linn sophomore Ethan Goff then notched a 13-4 major decision ovef Carsen Taylor at 126, getting a key 3-point nearfall with just three seconds left in the match, to boost the Lions' lead to 13-5.

Then, at 132, Owens got a 3-2 decision win over Tigard freshman Chase Dennis in what might have been the most competitive match of the night. After a scoreless first round, Owens took a 2-0 lead with a reversal coming with 47 seconds left in the second round. Dennis then tied the score at 2-2 with a reversal of his own with 1:00 remaining in the third round. But Owens scored on an escape with 53 seconds left in the match to get the one-point win.

"Chase is one of my friends from All-Phase Wrestling that I wrestle with a lot," Owens said. "It was nice seeing him here and it definitely was a tough match. I was tired after it. My heart is out to him and I hope he does well the rest of the way."

At 138, West Linn senior Jack Wall pinned Tigard freshman Timmy Cousineau in 1:49, expanding the Lions' lead to 22-5.

West Linn freshman Destiny Rodriguez and junior Cael Brunson followed with back-to-back pins at 145 and 152, upping the West Linn margin to 32-5.

At 160, West Linn freshman Justin Rademacher scored a 17-1 technical fall win over Tigard's Jordy Espitia. At 170, West Linn junior Cole Peters pinned Uriah Subia in 1:40 to extend his team's lead to 43-5.

Then, after West Linn junior Cade Miller received a forfeit victory at 182, Lions sophomore Cobie Daley pinned Tigard sophomore James Smith in 1:18 at 195 pounds.

Mee was up next in his 220 match against Tigard sophomore Raul Velasquez. After a scoreless first round, Mee took a 1-0 lead on an escape with 1:04 left in the second round. Mee then got a takedown with just one second left in the period for a 3-0 lead going into the third round. Mee ended up pinning Velasquez 24 seconds into the final round, giving West Linn a 61-5 lead in the team score.

"I work hard on my conditioning, and I feel that gives me the edge over my competition. I feel that, in the third round, I can really kick it into gear," Mee said. "I feel like that was a good win for me. That should help with my district seeding."

Tigard got a win by fall from senior Johnny Nomani over Joe Betty in the 285-pound match, leaving West Linn with a 61-11 victory.

"This was so much fun, winning as a team with your buddies on the mat, screaming for each other," Mee said.

"This was as fun as every night," Owens said. "It's fun to go out here as a team, and see everyone wrestle."

Next up, the Lions finish their Three Rivers League schedule when they host Lakeridge at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.

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